Chancellor Angela Merkel has appreciated the voluntary commitment of students involved in the Law Clinic Project of Augsburg’s Faculty of Law by inviting them to Berlin
Augsburg/MK/KPP – It is not every day that you receive a letter from the Federal Chancellery. All the greater was the surprise and joy at the Faculty of Law of the University of Augsburg a few weeks ago: The Law Clinic Augsburg was invited, together with some 140 further initiatives from all over Germany, by the chancellor to her office as a sign of acknowledging the participants’ commitment.
The Law Clinic Augsburg, which was started at the beginning of 2015, occupies a firm position among the many volunteer projects for refugees in Augsburg today. About 50 students, hailing from the Faculty of Law but also from other faculties of the University of Augsburg, are participating in the project. Their responsibilities include preparing legal opinions for cooperation partners; drawing up lectures about legal issues to deliver them to refugees, their helpers, and in future also to schools; preparing asylum seekers for the so-called “big interview”; and taking on guardianship for unaccompanied minors. “Before anything else, however, the students have to complete a one-year training in Aliens Law and Asylum Law in order to ensure the quality of our work,” emphasises Patricia Payome Villoria, the director of the Law Clinic.
Meanwhile, the Faculty of Law has additionally established a Language Clinic to support the Law Clinic with their tasks. “In this way we are able to overcome language barriers, but above all, the interpreters gain an insight into Asylum Law when dealing with the legal terms,” adds Marie Horstmeier, who supervises the Language Clinic.
“It seems the chancellor is very impressed with our work since she has recently invited us to Berlin,” says Maximilian James. His co-worker, Johanna Löffler, who is also responsible for public relations adds, “Maybe it has been brought to her attention how exceedingly well we collaborate with our local cooperation partners and that our work has received encouragement by institutions such as the Administrative Court of Augsburg, Augsburg’s department of the Federal Agency of Migration and Refugees as well as the Employment Agency”
Dr. Matthias Kober, project manager on behalf of the Faculty of Law, accepted the chancellor’s invitation and went to Berlin on 7 April to represent the Law Clinic Augsburg. At the Federal Chancellery, he had the opportunity to exchange ideas with the representatives of the other initiatives invited and, most of all, to participate in a two-hour conversation with both the chancellor and federal minister Peter Altmaier, the central contact for the overall political coordination of all aspects of the current refugee situation. “The chancellor took plenty of time out of her schedule for that meeting. She openly asked for understanding of the Federal Government’s decisions, which impressed me as much as the honesty with which she named misjudgements and aspects that aren’t working all that well. Furthermore, it was clearly noticeable that her commitment to continue supporting aid projects for refugees was not just an empty phrase but an actual concern of the Federal Government.”
It was with thanks that the chancellor closed her welcoming speech at the reception: “I thank you all who have shown: Our values are not only written in the constitution and on paper, but we also try to live by these values”. In the meantime, Kober has gladly passed on this thanks to all participants of the Law Clinic Augsburg as well as to its partners.
Dr. Matthias Kober
Prodekan für Zentrale Aufgaben und Akademische Angelegenheiten
Juristische Fakultät der Universität Augsburg
phone +49 (0) 821 598-4502